MEMPHIS, Tennessee — The University of Memphis is now considered a top-tier research institution in the country.
President David Rudd announced the school will be designated as a Carnegie R1 University, moving up from the R2 level. The university has been trying to reach R1 status for many years.
"It is great to see this goal reached. I will tell you it is the result of hundreds of people, faculty, and staff over the last number of years," said University of Memphis President David Rudd.
The status change means the college has very high research activity. It gives the university more visibility and prestige in the world of academics. Rudd said it is a major boost in terms of the overall reputational value of the school.
"The value of a degree now, the way the university is perceived, the ability to recruit students and international students, it makes it easier to recruit and retain faculty and staff," said Rudd.
He added there will be growth in research, an increase in federal dollars, and the ability to form partnerships that were not previously possible.
"It is going to lead to a lot of good things for the university, and most importantly, the students," said Rudd.
"It is very important that the credentials of the University of Memphis continue to grow as they have. The trajectory has been enormous and impressive," said Bob Byrd, a U of M booster. "The impact economically, socially, and otherwise will be greatly amplified by this new status."
Sports fans want to know if the academic change will help the school get into a better athletic conference. Possibly down the road, according to Byrd.
"When the conference expansion began back in the days of the Big East, then the academic standing was something that people pointed to was a flaw at the University of Memphis. That flaw no longer exists," said Byrd. "As to the impact on Athletics, when conferences are looking to expand, they are not just looking at what happens on the field or the court. It is a grouping of like-minded institutions."
On athletics, Rudd said, "When you look at conference affiliations at the national level, what is referred to as the POWER-5 conferences, the vast majority of those institutions, not all, but the vast majority of them are Carnegie tier 1 institutions."
President David Rudd released this letter to the public.
"Dear Members of the UofM Community:
I'm thrilled to share that the University of Memphis has received word from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Ed that we have been designated as a Carnegie R1 University, one of only three universities nationally to successfully move from R2 to R1 status this year. Let me extend a thank you and congratulations to our faculty and staff for an exceptional job and, in particular, our Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation, Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, who spearheaded this effort. Our thanks to the Governor, state legislature and our Board of Trustees for their support.
Achieving this status is the outcome of a focused, strategic and intense effort over the past five years, and one accomplished with limited resources and targeted investments. Remember, we accomplished this while serving our students by holding tuition increases to the lowest in the State of Tennessee over the past seven years, and by a very significant margin. Sustaining and accelerating this trajectory will require additional state support, both with targeted investments in our research enterprise and general operational funds. We have already made a request for the state to support a $50M UofM research endowment fund, one in which we have offered to generate half the funds by matching state support dollar-for-dollar. We already have significant commitments as part of our advancement campaign already underway.
Thank you for embracing a bold vision for the University of Memphis and for helping make it a reality. Significant progress requires strategic planning, high expectations, hard work and resolve in the face of adversity. I hope you enjoy celebrating this latest step for the UofM and our status as one of two flagship universities in Tennessee.
Learn more at carnegieclassifications.iu.edu.
M. David Rudd
The University of Memphis"